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Is Your Office Chair Killing You?

Monday, December 05, 2011


That's the link to a very interesting article in today's Toronto Globe and Mail about the effect of a sedentary life style.

And what it tells us is kind of sobering.

Being sedentary for most of the day is unhealthy even if we have faithfully clocked some exercise before the office. Getting to the gym - or some other kind of cardio, for 30 minutes or so daily -- is a good thing. We know that. But: it's not a magic bullet.

If we take off the running shoes and sit for the rest of the day, we're still not going to be healthy. And the cardio -- jogging or whatever -- just might not be enough to improve our health.

That's because people who sit for six or more hours a day are 40% more likely to die within the next 15 years. People who are obese sit for 2.5 hours longer each day than people of normal weight.

Human beings are meant to move. We're designed that way. So: gotta keep moving. Get up from my chair while I'm talking on the phone. Zoom over to the printer. Run upstairs to deliver a message or a file, rather than just emailing. Step outside to shovel the walk. And then take a walk!

It all helps. And having read this article, I'm going to try to be sure that I don't go more than a couple of hours without some kind of physical activity. All day every day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 12/20/2011 7:05PM

    Salsify..funny! I need to share this article with the hubby. Thx!

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DDOORN 12/10/2011 9:14PM

    Have seen this info at a number of other sites too...sobering stuff for sure!


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CRYSTALJEM 12/8/2011 11:36AM

    Great blog. It really makes one reconsider how they approach their activity during the day.

I read the same article and I'm thankful that I seem to be the kind of person who naturally likes to move. I don't like to stand still for too long. I do think that tendency has helped me to not find myself in worse physical condition than I did when I started my spark journey.

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/7/2011 7:58PM

    40%?!! That is amazing.

Thanks, gorgeous. You are always making a gal thing :)


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KALIGIRL 12/7/2011 8:57AM

    Here's to getting up every hour and stretching @ your desk!

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TKADEEPBREATH 12/6/2011 10:22PM

    OMG. . . now I have a guilt trip. It's okay, I needed that. I'm so tired of sitting most of the day in front of the computer. It's hard when that is your job. I've actually seen set ups where the work station is set up on a treadmill. That's a little much for me. I can see myself making a swan dive on my way to the printer and I don't "bounce" well anymore.

You just have to make "moving" a priority . . .I'll do that tomorrow. Challenging blog, thanks for the informational push . . .!

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CARRAND 12/6/2011 8:13PM

    Keep moving is good advice for all of us. I know I sit too much at work, and I do try to get up and move around as much as I can while still getting my job done.

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_LINDA 12/6/2011 6:19PM

    I read about this very subject on Sparks before. I have found lots of things I have read on here show up in newsprint. Didn't pay attention to where it originated. But it sure is a strong message. I may have been exercising for two hours daily, but the rest of my time was spent sitting at a computer or the bridge table -so aware of how difficult it is to keep moving through out the day..

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NANCY- 12/6/2011 6:23AM

    But I like my chair.
Movement is what keeps us going.

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PHEBESS 12/6/2011 4:59AM

    That's one of the things I like about teaching - I'm moving around the room, standing, during the three class periods (and that includes one block). I can't sit at a desk for very long, even on the computer.

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SALSIFY 12/6/2011 4:30AM

    I knew my sofa was out to get me!

My dh watches TV standing up. I'll now stop trying to persuade him to cuddle up next to me on the sofa. Thanks for the info.


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JACKSONBRAVO12 12/6/2011 12:20AM

  Thank you for sharing the links. More helpful.This also making awareness on office chairs ( http://www.relaxofficechairs.co.uk/ ). emoticon

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JACKSONBRAVO12 12/6/2011 12:20AM

  Thank you for sharing the links. More helpful.This also making awareness on office chairs ( http://www.relaxofficechairs.co.uk/ ). emoticon

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DONNACFIT 12/5/2011 11:22PM

    Heard a cute quote "Life doesn't have a remote control..you have to get up and change it yourself"

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VREELANDTHING 12/5/2011 9:08PM

    I'm a nurse in a doctor's office, so at least I get to get up and down. I still spend a fair amount of time in a chair. Interesting article.

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NEWKAREN43 12/5/2011 8:47PM

    Wow, this resonates with me for sure...I sit literally 9 hours a day, sometimes I don't move unless I use the ladies' room or get more water...sounds like I'm in trouble...but what do I do? Get up and move, I know, get up and move! Yikes. Thanks for the information Ellen.

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Greek Geek? Like, Totally . . .

Thursday, December 01, 2011

It's not just my Greek omelettes . . . Omega 3 liquid egg plus liquid egg white plus Greek seasoning plus low fat feta and spinach, now protein-boosted with turkey and volume boosted with mushrooms. (Is there a more flavourful low fat cheese than feta? If so, haven't found it . . . ).

Yup, in addition to the Greek omelettes, I'm all about the no fat sugar free Greek yogourt too -- huge whack o' protein, great creamy texture, nice zing: I've been using the PC brand. Which has lots of apps (e.g. instead of sour cream on baked potato; swirled into soups; incorporated into salad dressings . . . ) but most often enjoyed by me with a touch of Splenda (I know, I know . . . artificial sweetener, but still the lesser of several evils) and fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries (I know, I know: carbon foot print . . . of which the largest portion is driving them home from the grocery store. Nope, no store close enough to walk or bike . . . there it is).

Hadn't known, however, until 4A-HEALTHY-BMI pointed it out yesterday, that Greek yogourt has less lactose. Yay!

And apparently, a colleague reported to me last night at a professional dinner meeting, fat free dairy products have less estrogen (from the hormones administered to keep cows lactating . . . ). Does anyone know if this is so?? It's an issue for me as a breast cancer survivor . . (Proud to report: mixed, mingled, avoided appetizers, clocked in well within calorie range by making judicious choices and avoiding resolve-weakening wine!!)

Grateful for reduced lactic acid, hoping for reduced estrogen . . . in the meantime there is no question that I embrace the Greek bearing gifts.

And when on rare occasions I'm ordering salad in a restaurant, I love to request (with a bit of a saucy smile) a "small Greek"!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 12/20/2011 7:11PM

    I'm probably the only person I know of that does not like greek yogurt. I know it's good for me, however, I just can't seem to like it much unless it's with fruit. I do love greek salads tho and miss them a lot here lately! oh wow..I'm shopping tomorrow and looking for feta cheese!

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/7/2011 7:59PM

    Gotta love Greek!


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PENNYAN45 12/5/2011 5:35PM

    It's good to see that there's lots of company when it comes to liking Greek flavors.
I especially like tzatziki sauce as a dunk.
A spinach, mushroom, and feta omelet is my favorite.
And dill is a great spice!

Greek is Great!

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PHEBESS 12/4/2011 7:25PM

    I love using Greek yogurt when baking, instead of milk (water it down) or instead of sour cream (1:1).

PLUS it's great for making a thicker quiche!!!!

I also spread it on a bagel instead of cream cheese - yum!!!!!

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FRACTALMYTH 12/4/2011 12:00AM

    Yum - huge fan of greek yoghurt... must try feta soon... at the moment loving avocados in huge amounts lol

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    I love Greek seasoning, feta and Fage Greek yogurt is my favorite! Never liked yogurt until I discovered "the Greek" and have never looked back.

Comment edited on: 12/3/2011 9:36:29 PM

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TBANMAN 12/3/2011 12:46PM

    I love all things greek too - greek salad, greek omlettes with onion, tomato, feta and greek seasoning.

But my all-out fave for sure is fat free greek yogurt. SO much protein! My preferred brand is Liberte - a little more expensive, but yummy flavours.


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NANCY- 12/2/2011 8:44AM

    Thanks.. didn't know that about the feta. I have taken a shine to goat greek yogurt. Wonder what the difference is .. will have to check it out someday.
Here's to healthy living!

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KALIGIRL 12/2/2011 8:43AM

    Mediterranean 'diet' - the best!

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/2/2011 2:58AM

    Love Greek yogurt and congratulations on your discipline at the party, not always easy.

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CRYSTALJEM 12/1/2011 10:51PM

    If I'm not mistaken, the hormones you're referring to are banned in Canada (however, I'm not sure if that's ALL hormones). I'm not sure if yogurt is imported and if so if the hormone ban would encompass those products as well.

I didn't realize that Greek Yogurt is so high in calcium since it's triple strained. I had some at our local Costco the other day and it was delicious. Plan to add it to my fridge next shopping trip. The texture and flavour were devine. Glad to hear the PC brand is really good as well.

Awesome job and restraint! CJ

Comment edited on: 12/1/2011 10:52:33 PM

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FREELADY 12/1/2011 10:08PM

    Your dinner meeting choices are inspiring! That is a very tough venue for me.

I, too, love egg/spinach/feta for breakfast. It makes me feel like I've had something really yummy . . . had to wean myself away from the high-fat, high-calorie, traditional Southern full breakfast.

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_LINDA 12/1/2011 6:31PM

    Well done with the party! I like using yogurt as a veggie dip myself.. I use no fat cottage cheese with potatoes, never thought of using the yogurt instead. I was so happy when our Superstore finally started getting in Greek yogurt, it was very expensive in just health food stores before. Their brand is very good, I like the one with honey.
Never heard of the estrogen thing, it would be very interesting to find out.

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GERIKRAGH 12/1/2011 2:58PM

    Isn't it amazing what foods and tastes we can discover when we eat healthy?

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/1/2011 11:21AM

    I dunno about the lactic acid. But I do know Greek yogurt has less lactose (milk sugar)

I'll look up the estrogen thing and let you know what I find out.

Comment edited on: 12/1/2011 11:21:53 AM

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DONNACFIT 12/1/2011 9:19AM

    Your omlet sounds soo good!! I just bought some greek yogurt for the first time and aven't tried it yet..now I can't wait :)

Your food blogs always make me hungry!

Go Greek geek...

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DDOORN 12/1/2011 8:45AM

    Love yogurt of any low-no-sugar type...greek tastes best to me, but it's priciness sometimes shifts me to my plain Dannon quarts. I find a lot of drainage as it sets can be poured off too.


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SLENDERELLA61 12/1/2011 8:25AM

    Greek is great, I must agree! Congrats on handling the party last eve. You did great, too. Don't know about the estrogen. When you find out, let us know. Makes sense - hope it is so. Keep up the healthy living! Isn't healthy food fabulous?? -Marsha

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More Protein: Middle Four, Take That!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In line with 4A-HEALTHY-BMI's prescription (break plateau by changing it up), plus her focus on getting 150 gm protein a day . . . I'm adopting these strategies to blast middle number 4 before it escalates upwards . .

So: I am moving more.

And: I added some lean turkey to this morning's Greek omelette (Omega 3 whole egg plus whites, low fat feta, spinach, Greek seasoning) and am already at 28 grams protein for today, but under 300 calories. And for added satiety, tossed in some mushrooms too, a whole cupful for just 15 calories. I'm thinking that this additional volume will increase the feeling of fullness. And there are low fat sugar free yogourts in the fridge at work for mid-morning/mid-afternoon snacks as may be necessary! Also protein rich.

OK then. It's a dark snowy morning, and I'm really appreciating my sunny light box! And happy that my snow tires have lots of tread.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRP1385 12/1/2011 8:47AM

    great post, need to find more protein in my diet too.

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CARRAND 11/30/2011 9:35PM

    Oh, I wish I had a light box, too.

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SLENDERELLA61 11/30/2011 7:45PM

    Great strategies to shake it up and to add protein. More power to you!! Keep up the good thinking -- keep up the great activity and eating!! -Marsha

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/30/2011 4:03PM

    emoticon Ellen, I love your dedication. emoticon

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DDOORN 11/30/2011 3:30PM

    I'm betting this is going to pay off...kudos to trying something different!

4A-HEALTHY-BMI's strategies have sure paid off for her! :-)


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_LINDA 11/30/2011 10:28AM

    Good for you changing it up! I like to do that just to keep things interesting which was why I was taking a variety of fitness classes and wanting to try more. I always make sure I get at least 15g protein per meal. Once I did that, I no longer felt the need for snacks in between meals. At Mom's, I am getting chicken which is also lean (the breast part) and good protein. I am hoping she will throw a turkey in this weekend. We were supposed to get snow today, but it didn't happen. I wish it would to melt on the ice and make it safer.
Good luck with it! That omelette sounds YUMMY!!!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/30/2011 10:17AM


emoticon emoticon emoticon

Do be aware that nonfat plain yogurt does have lactose in it. My favorite is nonfat plain Greek yogurt because the lactose drains out with the water when they strain it. That way more of the calories are PROTEIN.

(Eating my Greek yogurt plus soy cereal, right now!)

Comment edited on: 11/30/2011 10:23:30 AM

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DAWNDMOORE40 11/30/2011 8:31AM

    emoticonIt sounds like you are on the right track! They say protein is what makes you feel fuller! I try to track my protein every day! I usually end up meeting that criteria, but not the fat or the calories! Go figure! I wish you the best with your eating and exercising! I love omelettes and I love low fat cottage cheese! Those are usually the two ways besides chicken and peanut butter that I get my protein! Keep up the emoticonjob! Have a blessed day! emoticon emoticon

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SALSIFY 11/30/2011 8:08AM

    It'll be very interesting to see how this goes - I hope it works for you. I tend to cut out starchy stuff to lose weight & this naturally increases the protein as I snack on yoghurt a lot - & those triangles of light cheese on rice cakes. Owen just can't believe I'm eating those as he tucks into his mature stilton - but needs must!

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GROEDER 11/30/2011 7:39AM

    Good luck with the change - and also with the snow!! Drive carefully out there.

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CRYSTALJEM 11/30/2011 7:37AM

    Just about to go sit in front of my sunny light box too! I love it as well. First winter with it and I'm already not dreading it as much.

Great job on the protein. The omelette sounds delicious. Hope your day is awesome! CJ

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The Three Times When People are Happiest

Monday, November 28, 2011

OK, then: you've guessed one of 'em with no great difficulty.

Yes!! emoticon

But the other two? When attending the theatre. And when exercising.

The theatre? Really? Something I enjoy, certainly . . . but would not have put it in the top three. emoticon Unless we're talking personal "drama queen" episodes . . .

But exercising? It feels so good when it stops: maybe that's it!! emoticon

So here's the link: and it tells us the "least happy day of the year" too. I'm thinking I may just arrange to take that one as a holiday . . . emoticon


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/30/2011 10:26AM

    Maybe the first one is up there because it can involve BOTH drama and exercise...

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BEMORESTUBBORN 11/29/2011 8:48PM

    Thanks for the link and for adding me! Drop in and say hello - I love meeting my new Spark friends!

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/29/2011 5:38PM

    I wonder where they got their data from!! It seems as if it is from a fairly narrow population sample.

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DDOORN 11/29/2011 4:03PM

    While it may not be a 100% rock solid guarantee to boost one's spirits, exercise is usually a pretty good bet!

Movies I do...some heavy ones lately (J. Edgar & The Descendants), but theater is a rarity. I should catch up with it more often.


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CARRAND 11/28/2011 9:45PM

    A good Sunday afternoon nap would be on my list. I seldom go to the theater. Exercise is definitely great for me - and the other one, too.

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_LINDA 11/28/2011 9:45PM

    I don't get that at all, theater?? I like the movies better too, nothing beats the effects and drama of the Star Wars series in my humble opinion.
If anyone thinks exercise is boring they are so doing the wrong thing. It has to be fun, challenging and something that interests you and you can give your full attention. This is why I so love kickboxing, its an adenaline rush and gives you the feeling of power and control, something a weakling like me rarely can enjoy.
Exercise is supposed to be F.U.N. !!
For me, being a virgin, I replace #1 with eating chocolate, nothing beats that good feeling of 90% cocoa Lindt chocolate melting in your mouth!!
Wasn't aware there was a least happy day! I have never felt differently on any day, they are pretty much all the same to me..

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ONEWAYSTREET 11/28/2011 8:03PM

  lol..... whenever I see an elderly person this will run thru my mind now...
love the mooooovies.. not so fussed on live theatre...exercise is mindless... I meditate thru it... so must be aok...tho not thought of it as a "high" in my day...
Chrissy day is always good... I can handle that one...31st Jan... I'll watch out for it. Maybe the fact that the year has really set in???
Honestly there is a app for everything...
Enjoy your day... in every way!!!

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JOPAPGH 11/28/2011 6:12PM

    I would have guessed sleeping over theater.

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OOLALA53 11/28/2011 6:07PM

    I went to a link on whether good looking people are happier. That was disappointing. They are! Though there are always exceptions. emoticon

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DSHONEYC 11/28/2011 5:54PM

    Based upon IPAD info...I'd have thought it would be "when they are texting or twittering or connecting". Shoot, I don't even have a smartphone so to be connected I truly must be "connected".

I thought the #1 would be "eating"....chocolate is better than sex emoticon

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Hyacinth Harvest

Sunday, November 27, 2011

All winter long and as soon as they are available I buy potted hyacinth bulbs at the grocery store. White. All shades of pink. All shades of mauve and blue and purple. From January through April, there are generally hyacinths in my house. Sometimes a single bulb, often a pot of three bulbs, occasionally one of the large pots of five or more bulbs. It always amazes me that buying potted bulbs during the winter months is no more expensive than buying naked bulbs in the fall for direct planting into the garden.

Don't much care for the standard "Christmas" plants -- poinsettias in particular leave me cold, whether traditional red or the newer white, pink and marbled types. They last for ever, they can't with reasonable effort be brought back to rebloom, they silently reproach me if I throw them out . . . Cyclamen are a bit better (glorious butterfly shape hovering above the elegant foliage) but like poinsettias have no scent. Azaleas ditto.

Whereas the hyacinths (like the narcissus I potted up last weekend, which are growing half an inch every day) help me "set out to meet the spring". And smell glorious, scenting the whole house. And each floret is such a beautiful shape . . . remember "hyacinthine curls" on Roman Republican portrait busts? The only disadvantage of hyacinths has been their tendency to flop over, top heavy . . . but the newer cultivars seem to have that problem solved. And (unlike some contemporary rose variants, which have focused on repeat blooming at the expense of perfume) without any loss of scent or shape or colour.

Once my hyacinths have bloomed and faded week by winter week, I cut off the spent flower heads and water copiously, leaving the foliage which will renew the bulb's vigour, then put the pot down in our cool, damp Victorian basement. And forget about them, until late November.

So yesterday was the day. Hyacinth harvest. I fetched them all up, two green garbage bags full of pots and soil and dehydrated foliage. And took them out to the garden for planting.

Almost every bulb was showing signs of life: heavy, solid, sturdy ivory sprouts. I simply cleared away enough leaves in the flower bed to dig a hole, inserted the bulbs at the same depth, then recovered with leaf mulch.

We have lived here for some 25 years -- and there are hundreds of hyacinth bulbs from winter after winter of kitchen table fragrance, blooming and reblooming year after year. Squirrels leave the hyacinths alone -- tulips are the preferred munch, and that's why I don't have many of those. Squirrels simply won't accept my tacit deal -- chestnuts and walnuts for them, bulbs for me. If the squirrels don't eat the tulips bulbs within days of my planting them, they will eat the flowers as soon as they appear in the spring. I've given up on tulips.

Which is OK, actually: hyacinths smell better anyhow.

Winter: bring it on! I've recycled my hyacinths. They're promising me that spring will come.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CEHALLA 11/28/2011 10:51AM

    I love cyclamen and wished they had more scent. My favorite bulb is the freesia, they have a lovely scent. I don't know if the squirrels would eat them or not.

But I love flowers blooming in the spring, and all those hyacinths would be heavenly!

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KALIGIRL 11/28/2011 8:40AM

    Love it!

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NANCY- 11/28/2011 8:25AM

    What a lovely way to bring pleasure into your life. Breathing in the springtime fragrance is definitely heaven scent (oops I meant sent) on a cold winter day. :)
You make me want to go get some bulbs and put them in the bulb vases.

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DDOORN 11/28/2011 12:21AM

    What a wonderful way to brighten your home through your cultivation of flowers...!

Spring already feels like it's been here as we've been visiting in Valley Forge area of PA with temps in the mid-60s over the past few days!

But yes, winter will arrive soon enough...but I'm prepared with cross country skis this year! :-)


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CARRAND 11/27/2011 7:19PM

    What a lovely idea!

I liked poinsettias when we live in Bermuda. They grow there as bushes, waist high or even shoulder high, and bloom copiously every winter. The potted ones we get here aren't even close.

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DONNACFIT 11/27/2011 4:51PM

    Hi thanks for the gardening tips..am anxious to try that myself! Thanks for sharing and enjoy your spring thoughts..

we're actually having a week or more of beautiful weather.. very un-november like for Sask..I'll take it as winterr won't seem quite as long now...our snow is even almost gone now..


Comment edited on: 11/27/2011 4:52:19 PM

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/27/2011 4:43PM

    I can smell those hyacinths from here.

PS I've given up on tulips too. They make me hang my head in shame every one that droops.

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SALSIFY 11/27/2011 3:49PM

    I put a red poinsettia in a purple pot in my kitchen today as it's good feng shui & we could do with some prosperity.


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IMAGINE_IT 11/27/2011 12:34PM

    Oh Ellen you make me want to come out there and look at your gorgeous garden once it's all in bloom!! emoticon you also make me want to go out and buy Hyacinths and plant them all over my garden....only thing with this past summer extreme drought and sky high water bills emoticon and with predictions of at least 5 more years of drought....i am not going to plant anything.....except my tomatoes!
and i agree with Linda....i would love to see some pictures emoticon

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ERIKO1908 11/27/2011 12:19PM

    Ahhh...flowers...I've never had much of a green thumb, but I will live vicariously through you...

On a side note regarding my lack of green thumb...I do have a potted mum plant at work that was a gift from my son on Mother's Day two years ago...I managed to bring it back from death's door...and within a week or so it should have blooms again!!! It is a two foot tall, pretty much single stalk that I have secured to my blinds with a paperclip hook so it doesn't fall over. I will pinch it back when the blooms are done and see where it goes from there...but I did manage to revive it & for that I am proud!! :)

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_LINDA 11/27/2011 11:39AM

    Wow! I can just picture your beautiful garden with all those flowers blooming!! Would love to see a photo of your first blooms! What a perk in the middle of winter!!

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TKADEEPBREATH 11/27/2011 10:57AM

    I have a confession, I have never grown/tended a Hyacinth flower. I've always been intrigued by them but my Mom never grew one that I remember . . . but after reading your story, I'm going to look for some in pots. I'll have to study your method so I can try it. I'm excited about this . . . a new project. I think I'll collect all the colors. I will prefer the fragrant ones . . .

I never really thought about it but I'm with you on the Christmas traditionals like poinsettias. Just can't bring myself to spend $ on them. I don't mind seeing them if someone else bought them though.

Thanks for your story. . . as always, Jan

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PASTORMIKE7 11/27/2011 10:35AM

    That must be a wonderful site to see when the start blooming!!

Thank you for blessing us with this blog today!!

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